Cowan CA, Atienza J, Melton DA, Eggan K. 2005. Nuclear reprogramming of somatic cells after fusion with human embryonic stem cells. Science (New York, N.Y.). 309(5739):1369-73. Pubmed: 16123299


We have explored the use of embryonic stem cells as an alternative to oocytes for reprogramming human somatic nuclei. Human embryonic stem (hES) cells were fused with human fibroblasts, resulting in hybrid cells that maintain a stable tetraploid DNA content and have morphology, growth rate, and antigen expression patterns characteristic of hES cells. Differentiation of hybrid cells in vitro and in vivo yielded cell types from each embryonic germ layer. Analysis of genome-wide transcriptional activity, reporter gene activation, allele-specific gene expression, and DNA methylation showed that the somatic genome was reprogrammed to an embryonic state. These results establish that hES cells can reprogram the transcriptional state of somatic nuclei and provide a system for investigating the underlying mechanisms.

Related Faculty

Photo of Kevin Eggan

Kevin Eggan investigates the mechanisms that cause motor neuron degeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and seeks to translate new discoveries into new therapeutic options for patients.

Photo of Doug Melton

Doug Melton is pursuing a cure for type 1 diabetes. His lab studies the developmental biology of the pancreas, using that information to grow and develop pancreatic cells (islets of Langerhans). In parallel, they investigate ways to protect beta cells from autoimmune attack.

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